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New York Mets v Philadelphia Phillies

From the horse’s mouth: New Era does it again!

New Era has given us a new style of hat, and like other recent offerings, it isn’t great

When it comes to baseball caps, simpler is usually better
| Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

For a company that specializes in designing baseball caps, New Era is disturbingly bad at designing baseball caps. They do well enough in manufacturing replicas of what the players wear on the field, but when they branch out into other designs, they tend to get into some trouble.

Perhaps the problem is that we’ve reached the limit of what you can do with a baseball cap, and anything new is just going to look silly.

That hasn’t stopped New Era from trying. You may remember the “Local Market” designs, where they thought that sticking a bunch of imagery related to the team’s city made for a fetching design.

The Local Market failure didn’t discourage New Era from trying new ideas. Earlier this year, they debuted the “paint drip” editions. The problem is that according to some (most) people, it didn’t exactly look like paint that was dripping from the logos.

Undaunted, they’ve now come up with Dueling hats:

Who are these hats for? Are there any Yankees fans who want to commemorate their defeat in the 2003 World Series? And if the ten Marlins fans out there really want a hat marking their last World Series victory, do they really want to give the Yankees equal billing?

Most people who look at that hat will probably think that the wearer is a fan of both teams, couldn’t decide which he liked better, so he just went with both logos. Maybe there are indeed some former New Yorkers living in Florida who wanted to rep both teams, but that seems like a very small market.

Update on the Hot Pants Patrol

Last week, I asked about the girl in the 1979 commercial, and a reader came through for me! Reader Mark Parsons explained that the Phillies used to employ a cadre of women named the “Hot Pants Patrol.”

According to Mark:

Back in the 1970s, the Vet had — in addition to ushers, ball girls, etc. — a group of women in their twenties patrolling through the stands wearing bright red (sometimes maroon) shorts (known as hot pants) and tops. They would take drink and food orders and walk around the stadium. Sort of like putting cheerleaders into the stands to mingle with the fans. You can probably imagine what they had to put up with.

Trivia

Last week’s answer: Bob Boone was the three-time Phillies All-Star in question, correctly identified by EbbyCalvinLaLoosh.

This week’s question: The 1985 Phillies had 122 stolen bases. Where did that total rank among the 12 National League teams?

Retro commercial of the week

This commercial comes from 1985, when the Phillies launched a “Follow Us” marketing campaign. The basis of the campaign was that the Phillies had a lot of young, fast players, and would therefore steal a lot of bases (this was a big thing in the 80’s) and be exciting to watch.

The 1985 Phillies didn’t turn out to be all that exciting (they finished 75-87), but they did give us this enjoyable commercial featuring Richie Ashburn, Juan Samuel, Larry Andersen, and another player who I can’t identify. (Little help from the older fans, please?)

A few comments:

  • I appreciate the realism of the commercial. I don’t think I’ve ever played a game of Trivial Pursuit where at least one person didn’t get so upset by an answer on the card that they walked away from the table.
  • I’m a sucker for a good jheri curl, and Juan Samuel certainly delivers.
  • According to the video’s comments on YouTube, they made several versions of the commercial, and would swap out the name of the “fastest” player based on the upcoming opponent.
  • Samuel reportedly wasn’t even the fastest player on the Phillies, so I’m not sure why he’s so upset.
  • We close with a promo by Garry Maddox for free player photo cards. Maddox looks very uncomfortable in front of the camera.

Featured baseball card

Here’s Maddox’s 1980 Topps card:

This isn’t Topps’ best design ever. It feels like a lack of imagination went into it. And I can’t decide if I like when they have the player’s autograph on the cards.

But man, what an afro! I’m not sure how he even got his hat on.

Closing thought

After watching the Dallas Cowboys crap themselves once again this past weekend, I was wondering whether we should stop calling their fans “front runners.” Cowboys fans get lumped in with fans of the Yankees and Lakers as bandwagon riders, but the difference is that those two teams have actually had playoff success in the past 25 years.

I’d feel some sympathy for the fans and call them “long-suffering” if only they weren’t so insufferable. We get it, they won a bunch of Super Bowls when you were a kid - or before you were born. But despite what the NFL and television networks might have you believe; they’ve been largely irrelevant for the past quarter-century.

And please stop complaining about the refs. That last play call was beyond idiotic, and the Cowboys weren’t “screwed” by the officials, they just weren’t bailed out by them.

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